Monday, February 25, 2008

The Hoax

I'm generally not a fan of films based on true events, and I'm certainly not a Richard Gere fan. I was one who laughed when the film Chicago featured Richard Gere's tap dance from the waiste down while he sang his razzel dazzel number. Having said that, this film is a lot of fun and one of my top ten of last year.

1971, Clifford Irving (Richard Gere) is desperate for money, so, he claims he has Howard Hughes's cooperation to write Hughes's autobiography. With the help of friend Dick Suskind (Alfred Molina), Irving begins his book, banking on Hughes's reluctance to enter the public eye and expose the truth.

Although it's a true story, the director Lasse Halstrom takes some liberties with the narrative that give it a kind of uncertainty that a lot of true-event-films don't have. For one thing, you can feel Howard Hughes presense in every scene. There is a nice blend of humor and tension in the film as the stakes get set higher and higher. There are some moments where Halstrom lets the performances get a little silly such as when Irving and Suskin are trying to steal government documents.

Ther have been films about impossible liars before (shattered Glass) and they usually suffer like so many episodes of Growing Pains once the "gig is up" scene comes. However the screenwriter does something interesting here to get around this. When Clifford Irving has no one left to fool, he fools himself with what becomes a nice third act curve ball. Fun!


Post a Comment

<< Home